The future in sight

Of ideas and innovations

Convincing ideas and practical solutions – these are the basic ingredients of innovations. At Villeroy & Boch, they are part of the brand DNA.

Of ideas and innovations

A life without a smartphone? It has become almost unimaginable – although smartphones have only been around since 2007. Nevertheless, this triumph is not unusual: Sometimes the consumer doesn't even know what they are missing. They only notice when an innovation has closed the gap in their everyday life. 

Innovations solve problems for humans. They are developed based on new, convincing ideas, offer a concrete and comprehensible benefit, and in consequence, spread fast. 

Historic innovations at Villeroy & Boch

Looking at the history of Villeroy & Boch reveals: Innovations are an integral part of the company. Products as well as production methods have been providing proof of this for centuries. In 1782, founder Jean-François Boch  designed an innovative kiln: This held 13 times more ware than other kilns, but required only a third   more firewood. It was the beginning of the early industrial series production of ceramics – and at the same time ensured competitiveness.

In 1829, Boch developed stoneware with unrivalled solidity and thus made an important contribution to the democratisation of table culture: the "white gold" porcelain, unaffordable for most, got less expensive company. Good taste was now affordable for broader segments of the population. And the innovative wall and floor tiles by Eugen von Boch – the legendary "Mettlacher Platte" –   brought ground-breaking hygiene to both private and public spaces.

Spectacular at second glance

These examples show that innovations often happen behind the scenes. And what is spectacular about them is not always obvious at first glance. CeramicPlus  by Villeroy & Boch lets the dirt on the ceramic drain away with the water and set a new standard worldwide. The design of the NewWave cup,  on the other hand, is innovative because of the production technique that made its design possible in the first place: For the first time, the handle and cup can be produced in one step. 

Anne Rottleb, Product Manager Dining & Lifestyle, explains: "Innovations give us a head start and enable us to offer products that are unique. A current example is our Manufacture Rock collection: We have succeeded in developing a solid-coloured black mass and in producing matt black tableware in a slate look that has become a sensational success."

Innovations must be convincing - technically, functionally, and aesthetically

IThe starting points for many innovations are consumer needs for which no solution has been found yet. Sebastian Hof, digital strategist in the area of New Business Models & Innovations, explains: "Successful innovation is the transformation of novel ideas into real products, services and processes that address (future) customer needs." One example of such an innovation is TitanCeram – a material developed by Villeroy & Boch that allows for extremely thin walls for washbasins and meets the desire for fine, highly precise designs.

Part of the corporate culture

At Villeroy & Boch, innovation management is part of the corporate culture and organisation. The company suggestion scheme   has been in place for more than 70 years, and idea management has been introduced in 2006. Dr Peter Delwing heads the Innovation department at Villeroy & Boch: "Innovation management must be implemented as a permanent task within the company and be strategically oriented in order to create sustainable success. Our ideas are the engine for innovation and ensure our competitiveness."